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Interior Design Tips for Using the Color Wheel

While picking the right colors for your home design might seem like a complicated matter of opinion and taste, in reality, it can actually be as simple and straightforward as elementary school geometry.

It all starts with a basic understanding of the color wheel and an idea for a starting color. Here’s a step by step process for getting interior color ideas into practice.

Pick a Color
It all starts with your accent color. Think of this like you would a person’s accent: that bit of flavor that calls your attention immediately. This is where the you is, where your personal taste shines through the most. This should reflect your concept for the room, the central impression you want to hold strong.

Consult the Wheel

Notice how the wheel is geometrically perfect, mathematically symmetrical. You’ll start with your accent color and from there, pick the other one or two contrasting colors, and voila, you’ve got your interior paint color combinations lined up!

One way to do that is to draw a straight line to the opposite portion of the wheel: your basic contrast.

Another way to do it is with an equilateral triangle. If you remember your geometry, that means each side has equal spacing, which in this case means an equal number of color units. This means that you’ll calculate the 3 perfectly opposite points on the triangle.

One more way to do it is to adjust the triangle. If you remember, this is called an isosceles, meaning two sides are equal. You’ll still start with your accent, but from there you’ll adjust the other two points so that they’re equally spaced away from the accent, widening or narrowing the triangle as you move away from those perfect opposites.

Note: this all works for the grayscale, too.

What’s Your Temperature?

Finally, consider what “temperature” you want to go for. Different colors make people feel different things, so consider what tone you want that popping accent color to convey, how you want those neutrals to frame the space you’re creating.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)